scoreLight: Using object-tracing lasers to generate music
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of synthesisers and electronically-generated music and sound, particularly when it’s done in an interesting way, so I was pleased to find these videos of “music” being generated from a laser tracking system.
scoreLight is “a laser-based synesthetic experience” and works by allowing one, two or more red lasers to trace over drawn shapes, objects, even people.
Similar to how the pickup of a record player scans the grooves in vinyl, these lasers simply traces the shape and then sound is generated based upon its movement. There’s no camera or projector involved.
It’s not only the shape of the objects being traced that affects the sound, but also their colour and texture. Abrupt changes in direction (such as a right angle) trigger discrete sounds such as percussive effects, while smoother shapes change the sound in other ways.
What’s really cool is that this is another example of the visuals enhancing the audio, rather than simply being a by-product. It’s quite mesmerising watching several laser pointers tracing around a picture or object.
It’s also possible to have the lasers “bounce” around objects or to interact with each other, and it’s a great base for collaborative music-making.
OK, some might question how musical the output is at present, but I can imagine some genres really making use of this, and what an amazing live show you could put on, maybe with audience participation?
Really, the possibilities are near endless, and to think (apart from the lasers and processing unit itself) all you need to get going is a whiteboard and a marker pen.